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Unusual request sidetracks pretrial hearing for Troy quadruple homicide

July 02, 2018 06:45 PM

TROY - A pretrial hearing for two men accused of killing four people during a robbery in December got sidetracked on Monday.

In an unconventional move, one of them asked the judge for permission to represent himself.

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James White and Justin Mann are accused of murdering Shanta Myers, her two children and her partner just days before Christmas.

Defense attorneys in the courtroom say in more than 20 years of practice, they've never had someone with a list of charges against them like these request to self-represent. However, that's what White said he wanted to do when the hearing began.

White, 38, is facing charges including felony murder in the first and second-degree as well as robbery and burglary charges.

Police say on December 21, White and 24-year-old Justin Mann broke into Myers’ apartment in Troy, killed her, her two children and her partner, 22-year-old Brandi Mells and then stole a TV and an Xbox.

Back in January, the two men pleaded not guilty to the charges.

White initially asked the judge to represent himself, at one point telling her, “I am not a lawyer, I am not an expert, I don't pretend to be." He went on to say this is his fight.

The judge took a recess to consider his request and when the court resumed, White told the judge he changed his mind and rescinded the request.

After that, the pretrial hearing began. The first witness -- an investigator with state police.

Fearing his testimony would inhibit their clients’ abilities for a fair trial, defense attorneys asked the judge for the courtroom to be closed to reporters at that point and she asked the press to leave.

The jury trial is set to begin sometime in September.

Credits

Jacquie Slater

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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